Romance lit up at work for Devizes diamond pair
12:00pm Wednesday 13th March 2013 in Latest News
A couple who met while working at a tobacco factory in Devizes are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary today.
Bernard and Iris Neate, from St Bridget’s Close in Devizes, were teenagers when they joined the workforce at Anstie’s tobacco factory in Snuff Street. Anstie’s was then one of the biggest employers in town and had a pedigree dating back to the 18th century.
Mr Neate, 83, said: “The factory stretched the length of Snuff Street. I first worked on the cutting machines, making cigarettes, before moving on to the leaf room.”
Mrs Neate, 81, said: “It was one of the best-paid jobs in town and they looked after you well. You always had a free ration of cigarettes each week but I suppose that was to stop people pilfering.”
Mr Neate went off to do his National Service with the 17/21 Lancers at Catterick barracks in Yorkshire and it was only on his return that the couple got together.
He said: “We took more notice of each other once I got back and I asked her out to the pictures.”
They married on March 14, 1953, at St James’s Church in Devizes. Mrs Neate’s bridesmaids were her twin sister Eileen and other sister, Nora Crane. Mr Neate’s best man was his cousin Dennis Shore, for whom he had been the best man the week before.
Mr Neate said: “In those days if you got married just before the end of the tax year, you got a nice little rebate.
“I would have married her anyway, of course, but the rebate helped us choose the date.”
Because of company rules, married women could not be employed at Anstie’s, so Mrs Neate took a job at electrical component makers Hinchley’s – later Tamura Hinchley – where she stayed for 34 years. The couple have no children. They said this leaves them free to travel.
Mr Neate said: “These days we generally take coach holidays and we are looking forward to going back to Germany in April.”